Tuesday, June 14, 2011

When is it going to stop??

Interrupted Lives: Portraits of Student Repression in Iran

Since Iran's revolution in 1979, the government has systematically targeted students and deprived them of basic human rights. This trailer is a preview of a documentary that tells stories of students who have suffered repression, imprisonment, torture and worse.
» View full film (21 minutes)

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Raped and tortured in Islamist Prison

Nazanin Sadighi
Prisoner raped and tortured in 1980s

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Ahmad Batebi: "My heart is not Free"

Batebi: 60 Minutes
Ahmad Batebi interview on how he was tortured for 9 years
CBS) Much of the attention on Iran over the last few years has focused on its mysterious nuclear program. Another mystery that has received far less attention is torture in Iran's prisons. It's a story the Iranian government doesn't want you to hear; a story a man risked his life to tell. His name is Ahmad Batebi, and quite by accident he became one of the most famous dissidents in Iran. He says he endured years of torture in an Iranian prison, after his picture appeared on the cover of The Economist magazine. He escaped from Iran last year, and told CNN's Anderson Cooper how he did it.
To escape from Iran, Batebi was smuggled by car, and then by donkey, through mountains and minefields. He documented the dangerous journey on his cell phone camera. The men who helped him were from an underground Kurdish group and they were taking him into Iraq. Batebi never intended to be a famous dissident. He wanted to be a photo journalist, but it was a picture of him that changed his life and almost got him killed. In July 1999, demonstrations rocked Tehran. Outraged by a government crackdown on dissent, students took to the streets. Batebi, a film major at Tehran University joined in. When police fired into the crowd, a student standing next to Batebi was hit. "The bullet hit the wall and ricocheted back into my friend's shoulder. I heard the bullet go by my face," Batebi remembered. "It sounded like a bumblebee going by my ear." Trying to help, Batebi took his friend's shirt off. "To put pressure on the wound. It was bleeding. And so I tried to use his shirt to keep the blood in. Then we took him to the medical facility," he recalled.

(CORBIS)After helping his friend, Batebi returned to the protest, and waved the bloody shirt to show what police had done. That's when a photographer took a picture of Batebi that would appear on the cover of The Economist and was seen around the world. Just days after the picture appeared, the government arrested him. "They took me to a special prison for intelligence. And I was in solitary confinement for several months. After seven or eight months we went to court, but they didn’t tell me where we were going. I was blindfolded, and I thought this was just part of my questioning. They sat me in a room and opened my blindfold," Batebi told Cooper. That's when a judge showed him The Economist. Batebi told Cooper it was the first time he had seen the magazine. He says the judge told him, "With this picture, you have signed your own death sentence." "He said, 'You have defaced the face of the Islamic Republic that is a representative of God on earth. You have defaced it around the world. And therefore you have to be sentenced to death.' It took less than three minutes," Batebi recalled. He was held in the notorious Evin Prison, on the outskirts of Tehran, which 60 Minutes could only photograph secretly from our hotel window. Batebi says he spent 17 months in solitary confinement, trapped in a tiny cell not much bigger than a bathtub. "They kept the light on 24 hours a day. You have no information about the outside. You have no contact with the outside, and after a while you become mentally disoriented. This kind of torture doesn’t affect you physically, but it does affect you mentally and emotionally." "It can drive you crazy," Cooper remarked. "Yes," Batebi agreed. Psychological torture is one thing, physical torture another. And Batebi says there was plenty of that too. "They kicked me in the teeth and broke them. There was a toilet that was stopped up with feces. They put my head into the toilet," he said. Batebi told Cooper the bottom of his feet and his back were beaten with a cable, and that his testicles were beaten as well. Asked how long this went on for, Batebi said, "This happened the whole time I was in solitary confinement. It also happened at other times."
Read his story of Great Escape Here!

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Islamic Republic of Horror fears Christians

from FCNN:
The Shahrara church of Assyrians in Tehran will be permanently closed following a court order by the revolutionary court and the announcement by the parliamentary member of the Assyrian community of Iran.
According to reports received by the Farsi Christian News Network (FCNN), March 19th has been declared “Fathers’ Day” in the Assyrian community of Iran. On this day, March 19, 2009, the Assyrian member of the Islamic Parliament, Mr. Younatan Bet-Kelia, in speaking to the Assyrian community has announced that the Shahrara Church will be closed in the very near future by the order of the revolutionary court.

In this report it has been emphasized that primary reason for the closure of the church is the attendance of many newly converted Muslims in the worship and fellowship services of the church.

This announcement has been made in the context of recent comments by the Assyrian member if the Islamic Parliament, who represents more than 35,000 Assyrians in Iran, and in his opposition and protest regarding the manner in which the pastor and the leaders of the church are permitting the attendance of non-Assyrians into the services, has been predicting the soon closure of the church building in the near future.

In reaction to these developments, on first Sunday of the new Persian New Year, Pastor Victor announced, in protest to the comments made by the Assyrian Member of Parliament that either the church will revert to being a purely Assyrian speaking church or it will be shut down.

The committee of Christian Representatives of the International Human Rights Organizations considers this order by the islamic revolutionary court a direct assault on the Farsi-speaking Christian community of Iran in an attempt to eradicate the growth of the Christian community and the preaching of the gospel.

This action is a direct violation of the basic human rights of these citizens in the freedom of changing religious beliefs and the freedom of thought and expression.

It is important to mention that even from a month ago, the special Farsi spoken worship services were temporarily suspended by the pastor and the leadership of the church. No reasons were given for this action.

The Pentecostal church of Shahrara, for more than 8 years, has been conducting special gospel and worship services in the Farsi Language on Fridays and Sunday for the Farsi speaking members and seekers.

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

U.S. Jet Shoots Down Iranian Drone Over Iraq (Updated)

"An American fighter jet shot down an Iranian drone as it was flying over Iraq, U.S. military sources in Baghdad tell Danger Room.
Details of the previously-unreported shoot-down, which occurred last month, are still sketchy. But we do know that American commanders have long accused Tehran of supplying weapons and training to all sorts of Iraqi militant groups. Shi'ite militias fired Iranian rockets at U.S. troops in Iraq, according to the American military; Sunni militias allegedly used Iranian armor-piercing bombs to reduce U.S. vehicles to ribbons.
In early 2008, however, the torrent of Iranian weapons into Iraq slowed to a trickle, the U.S. said. And now, the new Obama administration is looking for ways to reach out to the Tehran regime -- dangling invitations to international conferences, and offering promises of renewed relations.
Which means the drone incident comes at a particularly sensitive time.
Iran has built an array of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. The pneumatically launched Ababil ("Swallow") has a wingspan of more than 10 feet, and cruises at 160 knots, according to Globalsecurity.org. The Mohajer or Misrad ("Migrant") drone is a bit smaller, and slower-flying.
Iran has supplied Hezbollah, the Lebanese terror group, with both models. Misrad drones flew reconnaissance missions in both November 2004 and April 2005. Then, in 2006, during Hezbollah's war with Israel, the group operated both Misrads and Ababils over Israel's skies. At least one was shot down by Israeli fighter jets.
Since then, Tehran claims to have radically upgraded its unmanned fleet. In 2007, Iran said it built a drone with a range of 420 miles. In February, Iran's deputy defense minister claimed its latest UAV could now fly as far as 600 miles -- a huge improvement over crude drones like the Misrad, if true. Iran often exaggerates what its weapons can do. But, if this drone really can stay in the air for for that long, the Washington Times notes, "it could soar over every U.S. military installation, diplomatic mission or country of interest in the Middle East." Including those in Iraq.
UPDATE: So I finally got a hold of a spokesman for Multi-National Corps - Iraq. His response "I believe MNF-I [Multi-National Forces - Iraq -- Corps' bosses, basically] is taking the lead on this incident." So then I reach out to MNF-I. A spokesman there wouldn't confirm the shoot-down. Nor would he deny it. "We've got nothing for you, Noah," the spokesman said.
[Photo: Globalsecurity.org]
h/t to: CJ

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Spirit and Self

Jill Bolte Taylor
She was a 37-year-old Harvard-trained brain scientist when a blood vessel exploded in her brain. Jill Bolte Taylor talks with Oprah about how she watched her own mind completely deteriorate, and about the spiritual and medical metamorphosis she experienced after.Season 2: Part 1
Season 2: Part 2
Season 2: Part 3
Season 2: Part 4

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Ten Months and 30 Lashes for War Veteran

Reprinted from Potkin's blog:

Etemad Meli daily printed in Iran, has reported a war veteran, Dr. Reza Jalali, as having been sentenced to 10 months in prison, 30 lashes and payment of a monetary penalty by the Gorgan court. Dr. Jalai was found guilty by the court for 'making illegal speeches' and 'insulting government officials' . He was previously rejected by the Guardian Council to stand as a candidate for the Islamic Assembly.

Dr. Jalali is a member of the university's scientific committee and served a total of 70 months in the fronts from the age of thirteen defending Iran against Saddam's invasion . He is also categorised as 70% wounded during the war. A hero of the war against Iraq who suffered Saddam's shrapnels now has to face the lashes of the Islamic Republic.

The plaintiff against him was the Gorgan governor, Major Ja'far Gorzin, who never served in the fronts himself but has been promoted for his servile conduct towards the Islamic Republic authorities.

More and more war veterans in Iran are standing up against the injustices and the monopoly of the power by the few in the Islamic Republic, for this is not what they fought for!

See the clip made for Dr. Reza Jalali:

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Sunday, March 08, 2009

Iranian women's demonstrate against Hejab in 1979

Happy International Women's Day!

For International Women’s Dayby Azadeh Azad08-Mar-2009
From: Iranian.com
On the splendid plateau of my land
For the last thirty years of choked breath
Cloaked bearded men of Islamic brandTime-traveller tyrants from old Arabia
Have planted phallic bars of Sharia Law
And celebrated dark demons of deceit
With dictators of worst kind in command.
Blades of injustice have ripped through
Women’s mind leaving one million signs of
Pain behind one million wounds to mend
Under bruised skies of a bloodthirsty trend.
But in this darkest field of steel weeds
And strangler vines there are gentle breeds
Of swaying blossoms splashing stars that turn
The darkness into light stillness into dancingWith glancing floods of love on the lights
Of Cyrus Cylinder first charter of human rightsDreaming not of a Saviour not of a
ClownWho is like no one but of themselves alone
The way they ought to be when they’re awake.
They go on the road door to door quarter
To quarter city to village voicing words
Passing pamphlets enacting ordeals collecting
Signatures in support of changes to tribal laws
Against women in defiance of sordid men
With thickened crevices in their brains.
They go through revolving doors
Of Evin jail, of the Dark Ages minds
In the language of quiet change convicted
Of pregnancy with the concept ofWomen’s parity in all realms of life.
They emerge from that hell with celebrations
Gather in each other’s houses refresh their vows
And keep at it hard and heavy till Enlightenment
Comes in to win their rights in the Year of One.
For now one million signs of pain blaze and burn
Into their One Million Signatures Campaign
As the curves of their minds become new paths
To the garden of fair play and their persistence
Opens the floodgates to their righteous way.
May one day victory of daughtersOf Anahita be rejoiced by everyone
Throwing flowers into the Goddess’sFlowing waters in not so far future. ©2009, Azadeh Azad This poem is dedicated to the following Iranian feminists and members of the grass-root "One Million Signatures Campaign to Change Discriminatory Laws Against Women," who have been attacked, arrested, found guilty of acting against national security, imprisoned in solitary confinement and / or forbidden to leave the country.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Marine One Security Breached by the mullahs!

Pa. company says blueprints for Marine One found at Iran IP address
NBC News and msnbc.com
A company that monitors peer-to-peer file-sharing networks has discovered a potentially serious security breach involving President Barack Obama's helicopter, NBC affiliate WPXI in Pittsburgh reported Saturday.
Employees of Tiversa, a Cranberry Township, Pa.-based security company that specializes in peer-to-peer technology, reportedly found engineering and communications information about Marine One at an IP address in Tehran, Iran.
Bob Boback, CEO of Tiversa, told WPXI-TV: "We found a file containing entire blueprints and avionics package for Marine One, which is the president's helicopter."

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